From a Creighton Student's Perspective
April 5, 2011
2nd Year Medical Student
Jesus poses such a poignant and direct question that it cannot help but jump out at us. Instead of asking the sick man if he wants to be cured of his disease, Jesus asks if he wants to be “well”.
Patients visit physicians for healing, advice, and to be made well. However, as a medical student, I all-too-often find myself reducing a clinical situation to a chief complaint and a list of symptoms. I even catch myself getting distracted during the Gospel by wondering which disease has affected this sick man for the past thirty-eight years and how his lifestyle would have suffered. As a future physician, I will try to serve patients by treating their illnesses for the ultimate goal of improving each patient’s life (either in quality or quantity of years). Jesus’ focus, however, is much broader, more comprehensive, and straight to the bottom-line.
Jesus jumps directly to the ultimate goal: contentment, joy, and peace. Even with modern medicine on my side, he offers so much more than I can ever provide, including forgiveness of sins. Therefore, this Gospel serves as a reminder for us to utilize this penitential Lenten season as an encouragement to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with our Spiritual Doctors: our beloved priests.
Focusing on a different word of his inquiry, Jesus begs the question of whether or not we want to be well. Just as he asks the sick man in the Gospel, he encourages us to ponder whether we are wallowing in our own pain and excuses. Are we choosing to be ensnared by a certain sin tendency? Are we purposefully letting a long-term illness define us? Are we consciously using a challenge in our lives as an excuse?
Jesus offers total and complete forgiveness from our sins and freedom from what ails us in life. Physicians face serious issues with non-compliance among patients who fall away from their treatment plans. A physician cannot treat a patient who does not want to be healthy. In precisely the same way, the desire to be well is central to Jesus’ offer.
Today in prayer, picture Jesus asking you, “Do you want to be well?”
What will you answer?
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